Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Open Discussion: Sulfates

The point of this post is to facilitate discussion, so please leave a comment. I would really like to know what you all think.

**For those of you who don't know, sulfates (or sulphates) are inexpensive detergents that help products create a lather. They are commonly used in shampoo, body wash, and other cleansing products.

Up until a few months ago, I paid very little attention to the ingredients in the beauty products that I used. I worked under the assumption that if it was allowed to be released on the market, then it was fine to use - I know, a poor excuse to be an uneducated consumer.

My path to looking at specific ingredients started shallowly enough - I tried a sulfate-free shampoo per someones suggestion and was impressed with its performance. This spurred me to do a quick web search on sulfates and almost all results were people saying the chemical is awful.

I already had quite a bit of face wash, body wash, and the like stored in my bathroom cabinet, so fearfully, I went to do ingredient list checks on them all. Sulfates were in almost every product... and often the second ingredient (after water)! Blah.  I didn't want to throw out all of these things - that would seem a waste, but I decided to phase out sulfates - or at least greatly diminish the amount I'm exposed to - by using up what I do have and bringing in sulfate-free products.

But a few days ago I realized, I don't really know why I'm avoiding them. What, scientifically, do they do to our skin, bodies, and whatnot. For as many results that google will come up with for sulfates, it is difficult to find any empirical research proving or disproving their harm (I want a data chart!).

Whenever I do find worthwhile information, I will be sure to post on it.

However, what I want to know here is -

What do you think about sulfates? Do you try to avoid them or are you indifferent to them? Do you think companies would be allowed to use them in products if they could cause harm?


  1. Like you, I'm confused about the subject. It makes sense that sulfates are used to cut grease...but as far as harmful effects to our far the evidence isn't 100% clear.

  2. @Ter Definitely. It seems like most of what I find are emotional reactions people are having based on what they've been told. They're told that sulfates are harmful, so the person doesn't question it and tells someone else and the chain continues.
    I've been trying to make a little time every day to find what I can on the subject and will make a post whenever I manage to get it all organized.
    And thanks for commenting on my 'open discussion'. I guess it didn't work out too well! Haha. I'll have to try it again when I have more readers to participate :)

  3. At this point I'm indifferent. I haven't had any bad reactions so I don't pay attention to them.

  4. @BudgetBeautyGoddess That's fair enough.
    And thanks for the comment :)


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